ENTERING into SILENCE
ENTERING into SILENCE
A Sufi walking retreat in the Moroccan desert
February 23 – March 3, 2020
Moderate: 3 to 5 hours daily
Dar Daïf guest house and tents in the desert
Ouarzazate aeroport or train station
Sufism is a living spiritual path which found its origins long ago in mystical experiences in a desert environment. This walking retreat offers us an opportunity to experience how the vast emptiness and silence of the desert connects us with our own inner silence. As we walk into the desert, we are invited to leave behind our attachments, preoccupations and excessive activity, and orient ourselves to Presence.
This is the first time that Conscience Soufie is promoting a walking retreat for an English speaking public. It is open to anyone with a spiritual outlook on life.
The retreat programme will consist of Sufi meditative practices and 6 days of walking 3 to 5 hours a day. Among other practices, there will be silent and singing meditations, zikr, evenings of poetry and story-telling.
The trek in the desert will be led by Zineb, a professional guide with a deep knowledge of the Moroccan desert. She will bring with her a team of experienced camel drivers and other staff, such as a cook. The camels will carry our luggage, our food and equipment such as tents.
Day 1 – Ouarzazate
You will be collected by guest house staff at the airport or at the bus stop of Ouarzazate
– Welcome and allocation of rooms at the Dar Daïf guest house
– There will be some free time in the afternoon – for visiting the kasbah, the orchards, the terraces around the guest house or for enjoying a Turkish bath in the hammam
– In the evening we will share a delicious Moroccan meal and introduce ourselves
Day 2 – Entering the desert
– Breakfast at sunrise
– Departure at 7 o’clock for a drive of roughly 200 km. We will drive over the pass of Tinifift, and enjoy wonderful views over the Jbel Saghro and the mountain range of the Atlas. We will reach the merchant city of Agdz, then drive past the palm grove and Zagora
– We will visit the ancient library of Tamgrout
– We will meet the team of camel drivers at the edge of the Chgaga desert and share a picnic lunch together. Then we will watch the loading of our luggage on the camel backs. After that, the caravan sets off and the walk starts.
– After approximately 2 hours walking, we reach the dunes of Chgaga where the camel drivers will have set up the tents for the night.
– We will introduce the meditation programme
– It will be time for the prayers for those who want to.
Then we will share our first supper in the desert
We will meet in the evening for singing, poetry and other practices
Day 3 to Day 8 – Walking in the desert
The following days we will walk through stunning and ever-changing landscapes. The Great South consists of plains, dunes and mountain ridges. We will sometimes walk in stony deserts (reg), sometimes in golden sands (daya) and we will encounter herds of camels and Nomads living in their brown woollen tents.
A typical day will consist of 2 to 3 hours walking in the morning and 1 to 2 hours walking in the afternoon. Throughout the day, we will have meditations, contemplations, zikr and other practices. Three times a day there will be prayers for those who want to pray. In the evening we will meet around the fire, sing zikr and share Sufi poetry and stories.
On the fifth day, we will not walk, but experience a few hours of solitary retreat close to the campsite.
Day 8 – END OF TREK
We will walk in the morning. After lunch, we will be transferred back to the Dar Daïf guest house.
Day 9 – END OF THE RETREAT
We will meet to debrief and share our experiences and meditate together for the last time. In the evening there will be an abundant meal.
day 10 – DEPARTURE
Any time after breakfast, shuttle buses will take the participants to the Ouarzazate airport or the bus stop.
REGISTRATION & PAYMENT
Cost: € 1100 PER PERSON
• Student discounts are available at € 100 per student from 18 to 25 years old
• Some bursaries are available for those on a low income – please apply on firstname.lastname@example.org
Payment and confirmation
As soon as your first instalment of 300€ has been received, we will confirm your reservation by email. You will also receive a document with practical information to help you prepare for your journey.
For any questions or informations request
Elmer KooleRetreat leader
Elmer is a senior teacher within the Sufi Way and has facilitated a variety of programs related to Sufism. He has recently completed his training as a Vision Quest guide and has facilitated outdoor quests. He has done his MSC in Ecology and his professional life has been dedicated to conservancy issues and international cooperation.
Zineb BoutkhoumTrek guide
Zineb is a professional desert guide and co-director of the guest house Dar Daïf in Ouarzazate. She is the first moroccan women mountain guide with over 25 years of experience. In 2008, she and her husband, Saïd, created the Agence Désert et Montagne which promotes a fair and ecologically responsible tourism. They offer a variety of camel and trekking journeys in the Sahara and the Atlas mountains, for instance long camel journeys following the ancient caravan routes. In 2014, the company received the Moroccan National Award for Responsible Tourism.